Wednesday, 21 November 2012

My World Cup comeback race in Lake Louise

In 8 days I will be ‘officially’ back. So weird to say that Lake Louise will be my World Cup comeback race* - I don’t think that is the right word - ‘comeback’. It suggests I went away, MIA... well I was never gone. Yes, I distracted myself with some fantastic opportunities like commentating for Eurosport and taking part in Dancing on Ice but skiing Chemmy was always there.

I know a lot of people expect a lot from this blog - you want to know the raw feelings of racing my first big race on the very hill that threatened to end my career and all that over-the-topness. But in fact I feel weirdly peaceful. I know the hill, I know the terrain, I know I will be nervous and I am prepared for the jittery stomach.

I think my peace comes from the not expecting. Don’t get me wrong I am as ambitious as ever and I want to be fast - but I don’t want that competitiveness to get in the way of me enjoying this momentous two minutes that I fought so hard to be part of my life.

People will probably watch me race with two mindsets - those who know and support me will just want me to be safe and happy; cynics will be interested in the mental side - how tough is she? Is she attacking or skiing passive? Is she fast? Has the last two years been worth it? Were the federation right to stop supporting her?

I am not naive, I know what some are saying but only I know the true satisfaction of pushing out that start gate.

I owe this World Cup start to so many - from my amazing family and boyfriend, to my buddy Adam who was always there however down I was, to the fantastic people who put me back together Claire Lawrence and Cliff Eaton, to the trainers at The Third Space and Surrey Sports Park, to the Canadian Team for once again taking in this black sheep, to those who spent their precious pennies voting for me on Dancing on Ice that gave me the confidence and drive to be competitive in sport, to the fab sponsors that have come forward and the kind people who have donated to my website...

When I race now, when I push out that start whether it be a World Cup, the World Champs next year in Schladming or the Olympics in 2014, I know that I am not racing alone, YOU are racing with me.

Thank you as always for your continued love and support.

* When I say comeback race, I am not entirely telling the truth! I had the opportunity to race two SG FIS races last week with a fantastic World Cup field in Copper Mountain. Finished both in the top 10 and was smiling all day!!!

Image credit: Colmar

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Skiers and snowboarders: why can't we just get along?

I’ve been thinking lately – why is it that skiers and snowboarders have such a strong rivalry, and sometimes even a mild antipathy towards each other, considering we have so much in common?

I have to start by saying, once again, this blog is likely to be highly biased since for 28 years I have been in favour of the two planks! But with an older brother who veered over to the dark side of the snowboard a decade ago, I will try and create a more balanced argument than you would expect of me!

  • We share the mountain
  • We share the breathtaking sunrises that encompass the white snow in pink hues
  • We share the lift rides (and the queues!)
  • We share the sweet first tracks on the perfectly groomed pistes
  • We share the fresh track after a night of deep snowfall
  • We share the exhilarating rush of air as we let gravity fly us downwards
Only one thing really tears us apart – I ski on 4 edges, they ski on two!

How I perceive snowboarding? Two words – cool and creative. It is an expressive form of artistic sport – from the amazing tricks in big air to how they look. I have nothing but admiration for their incredible skills.

I used to dabble with a board. Back in the day my father imported ‘clipper’ snowboard bindings so naturally I had to be a big fan! I took to it quite easily in its very basic form. Personally I think because of having just 2 edges to think about it can be easier to learn than skiing. But I found having my feet strapped to a board restrictive (still today I love surfing and yet feel slightly awkward wake-boarding for the same reason) I found I couldn’t generate as much speed as I can on skis.

Obviously this was partly due to the fact I was a very basic snowboarder and like to think I am a slightly more professional ski racer! I think there is more evidence to suggest one can be faster on skis – to quote Wikipedia “(skiing) is one of the fastest non-motorized sports on land. The current world record (2006) for skiing is 251.4 km/h (156 mph), held by Simone Origone.” Speed skiers are as the name suggests skiers, not boarders, however after much internet searching I did find this:  the highest recorded speed by a snowboarder is 201.907km/h (125.459mph) by Darren Powell (Australia) at Les Arcs, France in 1999. So actually not a huge amount of difference!

Snowboarding used to be what the cool kids who didn’t want to wear lycra and race downhill did. It let them be loose, creative and demonstrative – a way to show off your talents without using a timer. However the last decade has definitely seen a resurrection of free skiing and slope style on skis. Tricks that boarders invented have been re-born by skiers who put their own twists on them. I can’t say one of these art forms is better than the other because I don’t follow the sports closely enough but both talents are wondrous to me since they are so foreign. I could never hit a jump and do tricks – I fly through the air in an ‘egg’ shape aiming to touch down on the snow ASAP and make more speed (air time is slower than on snow time!)

If I could change one thing about snowboarders it would be to implant eyes into the back of their heads. Obviously snowboarders have a ‘blind’ side and I think it is this side that causes the most agro for us skiers. I am sure boarders don’t (always) intentionally cut skiers up but a lot of crashes are caused this way since they can only see one direction. My father had a really bad crash a few years ago – he is a formidable 6 foot 4 and even still the perpetrator had trouble seeing him!

I am sure boarders too have qualms about us skiers so if you are a boarder and want to let me know, please comment at the bottom!

Will snowboaders and skiers ever be compatible? Well as far as sharing the T bar goes, I don’t think so! But let’s make peace, let’s shake hands, respect each other and our love of the white stuff.

Image credit: Colmar

Chemmy is the ski ambassador for Monarch Airlines and this blog post is also published on

Monday, 12 November 2012

Are you posey, pretty, racy or straight out of the 80s?

The ski slopes are a people watching dream. Look to your right and you may see lycra-clad racers, to your left snow bunny kitted out wannabes with permanent, teeth-as-white-as-the-sparkling-snow, gleaming smiles and in front of you 3 years old kids with no fear (and probably not much technique) charging down the mountain to join their adversary heaped at the bottom of the slope as they try to learn to stop!

Where do you think you fit in? But more interestingly who do others see you as?

Posey Skier
The kind of person who watches Made In Chelsea and sees that skiing is ‘what one does’ so books a holiday to wherever they saw Prince William and Kate ski last year. Purchasing as much expensive designer ski gear as possible, sauntering up to the ski lift at midday, checks out the ski instructor talent during a few runs. Then heads to the poshest mountain restaurant drinks mulled wine (or the local version) then heads down to put on the tiniest bikini and sit in the hot tub with a glass of champers! Yessss darling!!

The (ex) Racer
Having learnt to ski as a youngster, you once invested in an ex GB catsuit for your yearly corporate event. It seemed a great idea at the time – however years of social beer drinking mean the zip popped and the safety pins holding it together aren’t as sexy as they looked when Liz Hurley wore that dress back in the 90s (probably same era when the zip easily glided over your toned stomach!). Your technique is good, decent, a mish mash of years of different styles of coaches – particular memorable are the benz ze knees and emphasize that pole plant. Tends to bob up and down a bit but generally a safe, fast skier. However be warned when The (ex) Racer is on a busy piste, tends to use fellow skiers as a human slalom – steer clear in that scenario!

Stuck in the Comfort Zone
The ‘stuck’ skier goes skiing once a year and loves it but never really gets the time to improve. Over the year, this skier loses confidence so starts on the blue runs and never gets the guts to make the move to the red. Misses the opportunity, decides to wait until next year but sadly this is a vicious circle of ‘blue-run-dom!’

We have all been there. Even me, when I am rusty on my first camp of the year and feeling great on a nice easy run, I think I will just stay here doing this again and again and feeling like a champ. why progress to a harder run that will take more effort and I won’t feel as great?? Why? WHY? Well sports like skiing give us the opportunity to push our boundaries – learn where our physical limit is. If you don’t take that chance then you will never know how good you could be!

Over Confident
This skier knows how to stop safely – so on that premise, disregards technique and just goes for it. Skis as ‘loose as a goose’ – all jelly legs and big warning signs. Probably has a skill level suited to a red but often frequents black runs (that person you see walking up to the top to collect the ski they lost before somersaulting 50 metres down the vertical descent!) But loves it regardless. Also often seen bragging at the bar at how many runs they skied and showing their  iPhone speed app to anyone and everyone who looks semi-interested (secretly hiding the fact that the 80kph it shows was actually not a result of fast skiing but an erratic bus driver on the way to the base of the mountain!)

1980s Ski Wizz
Despite having all the latest parabolic, huge side-cut skis, this person still skis as if s/he were on a mono board. Legs, knees, ankles glued as tightly together as possible – heaving the body weight from side to side. Also prone to the vintage look (which is actually coming back in fashion, conveniently for them!) from fluorescent colours to big headbands!

Extreme ‘the Piste is the Enemy’ Skier
The purveyor of anything deemed ‘wild’ so skinning up the mountain at the crack of dawn, a quick sip of something to warm the soul from his silver battered hip-flask before hurtling down any cruddy snow or deep powder – anything far away from the crowds and corduroy snow made by the piste machines. Uses the word radical a lot whilst pulling out a lot of peace signs (unless mittens are their glove of choice!)

Pretty Skier
Knows potentially they could be faster and keep up with their kids but has been complimented on being a beautiful, graceful skier so many times that fears jeopardising that by trying new techniques. Besides which skiing is about enjoying being out in the mountain, knowing that in all the cute pastel clothes they look good, especially the overly tight on the behinds’ over-trousers!

The “Dad Who is Desperately Trying to Stay Faster Than His Kids” Skier
Was really keen his kids should follow his love of snow sports. Tried to give them the opportunity he didn’t have by putting them on snow as soon as they could walk. The first few years were fun – skiing as a family, being the envy of all the other dads who sacrifice their fun, fast turns to teach their own kids the snow-plough. However, has recently noticed he can no longer keep up with them. Somehow in the blink of an eye they have left him in their plume of powdery snow. Now fears both his age and lack of fitness are holding him back from ever catching them up again!

This blog is all in jest – is it not by any means a reflection of anyone I know – so if you are friend or family reading this, thinking that I used you as a muse you are far from the truth – all my characters are fabrications of my over creative snowy filled mind!

What kind of skier are you? What kind of skier do your friends think you are? Tell me in the comments below!

Chemmy is the ski ambassador for Monarch Airlines and this blog post is also published on

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Why am I not racing the World Cup opener in Soelden?

In less than 48 hours the Ski World Cup tour will open with a bang in Soelden. Historically this has been a great race for me. It is tough, icy and foreboding. It is where I made history a few years ago - becoming the only British skier to ever win a run in World Cup. That was the day I started to really believe I could win. The day the rest of the world stopped seeing me as a smiley, friendly racer from unsnowy GB but as a threat! So it may surprise you now when I tell you that this year I won’t be starting.

There are numerous reasons for this.

First and foremost GS hasn’t yet clicked for me, as speed has. A combination of the new equipment and the harsh on/off pressure on my leg means that I am inconsistent - sometimes fast, sometimes slow. I have restricted the number of GS days in training I have done over the last 4 months so that my leg eases in to the demands and forces of ski races. In doing so, I have prioritised the speed disciplines - the longer the turn, the more constant the pressure and the less stress on my metal tibia. My downhill is proving to be my best discipline right now - my equipment set up is working fantastically (thanks to all at Atomic) and my feelings on the flats are night and day better than they were before I crashed (mainly thanks to Claire at The Third Space who stripped me back to my physical foundations last year and addressed all the reasons I wasn’t fast on the flats!)

Also I have had enough time away over the last few years to learn about my professional self. I looked long and hard at my results and there was a pattern to my performances, strong early season, strong end with a big dip February. Bearing in mind February is always the month of our most important races (Schladming World Champs 2013, Sochi Olympic Games 2014) it is my aim to change this. By not racing Soelden I am delaying the start to my year and I’m hopeful for a peak in my results come February. Being race ready for Soelden is always a tough one since we have almost a month off racing afterwards, for more training before the World Cup season ‘proper’ begins (and by proper I mean almost every weekend until April!) In past years with good performances at Soelden I have been gagging for the grueling week in week out schedule - harnessing this excitement for a month is tough.

I know it is not ideal. And it will be with sadness and jealousy that I watch the race this Saturday but I have to try something new. I want to be fast when I race. But more than that I want to give myself every opportunity to peak for the biggest goal of my sporting career in 2014.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Why is skiing like seafood?

A little investigation on Facebook recently (that font of all information!)  has given me the feeling that change is coming. People back home in the UK are starting to shift their summer clothes back up to the loft and dust off their winter boots. Along with that goes a whole lot of deep sighing and pessimism about the beginning of the snow season. Boo, summer’s over, the weather’s rubbish and there’s another long boring British winter ahead, etc etc. That sort of attitude.
But hey, it’s not all bad! Seriously! There’s plenty of fun to be had in the winter months if you can embrace the awesome fun of skiing.
I would say that, wouldn’t I, because my sole aim is to spread the passion I have for skiing.  I admit I am biased – and unashamedly so! – because skiing is the best sport in the world.
On the other hand… Mr Anti Freeze, snowing’s greatest critic, holds a lot of sway these days. Here’s how I’d imagine our great debate would run…
Skiing is like seafood for some people
Mr Anti-Freeze, the snow hater says: “I have never been skiing. In fact the idea of skiing fills me with dread – it’s my worst nightmare.”
To which my devil’s advocate would reply: “Have you ever tried it? Or are these gremlins you have imposed on yourself without reason?
“I used to think I hated fish – all fish, I pretended it made me feel icky. For years I turned my nose up at it. Eventually I was in a situation where I was forced to try it and I realised I had been MISSING OUT – I had planted this seed myself. Once planted it had manifested into something I believed in wholeheartedly. How do you know you don’t like something if you have never tried it?”
Mr Anti-Freeze contemplates this response, but remembers he has his reasons. “Well I hate snow – and I despise the cold,” he grumbles.
Snow means cold! Forget you and forget that, too!
Well, I’m a ski lover so I’m not buying into Mr AF’s problem.  I’d say: “You know what?  The fresh cold air can bring life and energy to our bodies. Fair enough, in some cirumstances the cold can be quite uncomfortable – like at our December race at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. It has been known to reach minus 38 degrees C! Visitors can choose not to ski – but for competitors, if the race is ON we have no option. All we wear is thin lycra and tape every inch of our face to prevent frostbite! However – this is a ONE off! Unusual.
In Europe, December and January can be a bit blustery. If you don’t want to wrap up  in lots of cosy, cashmere-esque layers and stop for yummy hot chocolates every other run, then don’t fear I have a solution! Easter skiing! It’s ideal- you even tan (although be weary of the being ridiculed on return for your panda eyes – goggle tan) whilst skiing! And aprรจs ski often results in several more confident (inebriated possibly) skiers stripping down to their bikinis to get much needed vitamin D.
A holiday with physical activity isn’t a holiday!
Maybe Mr Anti-Freeze is starting to warm to my argument and feel less frosty towards ski holidays, but he still has one BIG issue. Despite being a regular gym member, he likes to save his holidays for chilling out – but in the sun, by the pool.
“Exercising on holiday? You HAVE got to be KIDDING! I work hard in the office so I can go on holiday to veg and to do nothing,” he says.
Strangely enough I understand. “Well yes, Mr Anti-Freeze, I actually agree with this one. I also love a good, warm relaxing holiday – although for me I spend every second on the beach searching out some activity, game or distraction. But I get it – for most people it is a decision – lazy sun or active ski.”
I like my beach holidays and don’t want to risk a change – what if skiing’s rubbish?
Well Mr Anti-Freeze, I have a challenge for you.
I know you and Mrs Anti-Freeze work hard to pay the mortgage, to support your family. You save some money and go on a quality beach holiday – you deserve it and you need it. You rest and sleep and eat and read and tan. But I bet you come home looking lobster red and carrying a few extra pounds and wonder where all the time went. And that’s actually pretty nice for a holiday, but maybe lacks a bit of excitement.
Imagine instead, next year, you go on a ski holiday instead. Just a week. You could get a great instructor to teach you this bizarre and exhilarating new skill. You might realise in fact that it’s the first time you’ve  learned something new since you passed your driving test! Picture yourselves resting your weary legs in the hot tub outside the hotel overlooking the magical mountain looking back at aday of achievement. Indulge in a hearty dinner, knowing the calories will be burned off on the slopes the next day.
Every day you’ll see progress, moving from bunny slopes to red runs and chairlift rides and gondolas. It’ll be so satisfying to see how quickly you improve, and the technology makes it so much easier to ski now. By the last day you’ll be  proudly reminisce about how amazing the week has been, cheeks flushed in the crisp mountain air, muscles toned from the exercise. Maybe you’ll plan a beach holiday for next year… or maybe, you’ll skip it and go skiing instead, saving a long weekend or two for sun, sea and sand!
I wonder if Mr Anti-Freeze will change his mind? 
Also published on

Friday, 5 October 2012

Why you should fight your fear of skiing

As ambassador for Monarch, I want to encourage everyone to fight their fear and get out on their skis.
Skiing is a sport that can be thrilling, exciting and scary. With so many benefits, don’t let fear stand in the way of experiencing this exhilarating sport.
Chemmy Alcott - ski ambassador for Monarch Airlines


Lots of people think they have missed the boat to try this fabulous sport of skiing – they may think they are too old, not fit enough or might get hurt. And yes there is a chance that could happen. But age – that is just an excuse – technology has advanced so greatly that the new skis make it easy to learn!
Last year I helped teach a 78 year old man ski for the first time – he is now almost a pro! He has non-skiing children but fanatical grand kids whose passion to learn to ski was somewhat problematic with their parents, so this grandad decided to face his fears, step up to the plate and take one for the team. The grandfather now takes his kids’ kids on a ski holiday every year!


Not sure if you’re fit enough? Well that is all about preparation before you go – the fitter you are, the more you will get out of your holiday. Worried that you’re injury prone? When I was injured, I tested my personal boundaries that day and I pushed it too far but that is how we learn, we evolve and improve as human beings. You’ll learn your own limits in no time and you’ll build your confidence with lessons and experience.
Monarch Airlines ski ambassador Chemmy Alcott skiing

The dreaded cold

Think you are too much of a hot weather person to enjoy a ski holiday – think again! The cold in the mountains feels fresh – it gives your cheeks a healthy glow and the rest of your body is cosy, wrapped up in layers and your feet. You can even have mini electric blankets added to your ski boots so you have toasty feet! If all this doesn’t help you can nip into a quaint mountain hut and grab a hot chocolate (or a few gluhweins – safety first though – don’t forget you have to ski down afterwards!)
Basically I am urging you not to be scared off skiing by fear. Embrace it, accept it, BUT please don’t let it put you off trying it.

Where I started

I was 18 months old when I skied for the first time. I would love to say I fell in love with the sport from that first day but truthfully I can’t remember it. But I do remember WINNING! Yes, my first memory in life was winning a teddy bear with a medal round its neck in my first race when I was just three years old.
Chemmy's teddybear sporting her first ski race medal
I originally took up the sport because my brothers, 4 and 8 years older loved it and I thought they were ‘cool’ so I copied them at most things. That day I raced was MY day – I remember feeling free, no one nagging me, no one telling me what to do – I was controlling my destiny! That sense of freedom, especially at that young an age can be quite addictive and it is still a huge driving force in my snowy career.
Don’t get me wrong though or put me on some kind of ski pedestal – despite doing this for almost 3 decades, there are still ups and downs, sacrifices and rewards.

How I deal with fear

Sometimes the things you worry about the most are actually the things that cause you the least problems. Take the emotion that causes us as human being’s the most sleepless nights – FEAR. For me there has been a lot of chat with respect to my comeback to skiing about this dreaded fear – journalists awkwardly trying to re-phrase the question “Won’t you be scared? How will you handle it?” Well to be honest skiing to me is as normal an activity as walking is to most people. There has been a gaping hole in my life for the months I was forced off the slopes.
Having welcomed turning 30 this summer and knowing that, yes I started walking 29 years ago, but I also started skiing 28 1/2 years ago gave me the confidence to know that despite the time off, I would not come back rusty. Skiing is actually a very natural sport (if you ignore crushing your feet into far too small plastic boots and squeezing your body into a lycra all-in-one!) gravity pulls you downhill; all you need to do is aim your skis in the right directions and you will fly.
Chemmy Alcott as a child
Well, yes, I am aware I am simplifying this very technical sport greatly and yes, at the World Cup level it is possibly one of the most complex sports in the world in terms of how to be one hundredths of a second faster than your peers. Essentially I have found from personal experience I ski best when I simplify things – over-thinking what we do, how we do it – that is very dangerous and has resulted in many a career hurtling on a downward spiral!
So back to fear. Simply – that first time I skied since my accident – well, I just shut the door on it. No, thank you, NOT today! Today is just about me being back to doing what I love doing.
Maybe just maybe making the brave (somewhat crazy some may say) decision to aim for my first World Cup race on the very piste that tried (and failed) to end my career almost 2 years ago is a bizarre decision. And maybe, maybe on November the 29th when I go to sleep before that first race fear will come knocking once again at my door….
Who knows? But all I can do is be prepared for it and once again try and force it away!
If you’re keen to give skiing a go, visit the Monarch ski site to browse flights and other useful information!
Also published on

Monday, 20 August 2012

There is a time and a place for Racing Chemmy - but it isn’t now, here in AUGUST!

My worst characteristic is undoubtedly my patience - or lack of. My best is my ability to fight. Putting those two together suggests a battle with coming back from injury where one succeeds by skiing slowly, improving gradually and taking the time to get back to hard, bumpy, full-on courses.

Inspired by the positive buzz and happy bubble of inspiration that I gained from being fortunate enough to experience first hand a few of our fabulous Gold medal winning performances at the London Olympics, I landed in New Zealand super eager to get on track to my own PB at the Sochi Olympics 2014.

The first few days I was forced to ease into the pace since it was soft and dumping with much necessary snow. I did an easy day GS and felt such great equilibrium between my left and right turns that I left the hill that day on a high.

The next opportunity to ski and conditions had changed radically - the previous moisture in the snow combined with overnight clear skies resulted in perfect race like conditions. The easy 17 gate corridor of flowing GS gates were far more difficult than predicted and all of us (I ski with the Canadian Women’s World Cup Team) fought and battled and, for me, crashed our way down (always good to get the first one out the way though!) But the challenge was intoxicating. As ski racers it is hard to not get addicted to arching that perfect turn - going into the fall line with symmetrical ankle, knee and hip pressure; feeling the ease of finishing the turn at the gate and being able to actively shift onto the new outside ski. The new equipment makes this timing of pressure even more important and, without the parabolic of the ski to help you, the sweet spot is ever so small. Miss it and you are battling.

I found the first few gates where the speed is lower and the flow yet to be established tough - my rhythm was off and I was grinding the turns. After the bogey gates at the top however, I started to get it. It was far from perfect but a work in progress. So I forgot about the fact I was returning from injury and powered on.

Having had to have the last few days off since, I learnt that 12 runs at the moment is too much for me! This is my first big injury and the first time I am doing a return to snow programme. I know I am an over excited personality and I know I frequently succumb to F.O.M.O (fear of missing out - in this case the other girls were skiing long, hard days - why can’t I? - well, for starters, they don’t have metal right legs!!!)

Having pain so specific it can make you feel physically sick is not something you expect when you are participating in something you love. I know it sounds cheesy but I was born to ski. The most natural thing in the world for me is being out in the mountains feeling the snow being sliced by my edges. But at the moment I am backing off my left turns. I am not committing to them because I am stopped by pain. So once again, I have learnt the only way I know - the hard way.

Thankfully we are not panicking as this is the time to learn. After such a great camp in Zermatt, I came here expecting huge things from myself. And that is okay... in fact if I didn’t let my expectations run away from me now and again I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You just have to work with your talents and more importantly know your weaknesses.

The weather is coming in which has forced people to take days off - this time playing into my favour. Two days off my leg will be loved and come Tuesday I will go up the hill and ski with quality and efficiency, stopping before I feel any discomfort and every day I will do one more run and push myself that little bit more.

For more information on Chemmy's comeback, check out

Friday, 20 July 2012

Torchbearer News Update: join me 24th July!

Torchbearer news update!

I will be carrying the Olympic flame on Tuesday 24 July in the London Borough of Ealing - torchbearer number 128! I will travel along Uxbridge Road A4020 from Greenford Road and finish at Owl Education 'Thor House', starting at roughly 6pm.

I'd love to see you all there and if you are able to come and support me and want me to say hi, we've made these t-shirts for friends and you can get one too if you wish:

See you there! Can't wait!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Jumping in at the DEEP end!

On Wednesday, finally Zermatt opened its arms and let us ski its fabulous summer terrain.

The last few days have been non-starters with huge anti-climaxes as I reached the last station only to be held there due to either mechanical problems or adverse weather conditions.

But today no human, nor Godly problem could stop us.

Being back with the Canadians was one of the best decisions I have made since I broke my leg. I slip seamlessly back into the team, both with my fellow racers and the coaches.

I am delaying the moment where I try to describe how good it felt to go at speed and trust my leg and body and technique again because I know no English language can do justice to the joy I felt.

Having dabbled in Kaprun on slalom skis with no intensity in soft conditions a few weeks ago I wasn't worried about easy skiing. It was the demand of the new FIS regulation GS skis, the need to commit to turns when a huge G Force is pulling at you, the hard bumpy glacier ice and most of all, my ever present expectation to ski perfectly.

Despite the huge time I had off, I knew that the first thing I needed to test on this camp was my guts. DO I have what it takes to be fast, really fast again? To be prepared to put my body on the limit and takes risks?? Well those fears were answered in my first run as I powered down the first pitch carrying speed and diving into a steep having to trust the huge years of experience I have, to adjust to the new equipment... most racers have a long come back to a racing programme with days, and months, spent on the basics, going slow... for me I felt through my experience on Dancing on Ice I have fast-tracked this - I know the control and strength in my leg is there. Now I need to test it specifically - by going hard and fast and not overthinking those first vital turns...


In fact, none of the group of orange clad Canadian coaches even mentioned my time off or my injury - straight away they treated me like all the others - slightly rusty after the spring physical training!


So yes, the new equipment means I need to adapt my skiing but the potential to be fast is now no longer a dream, it is there and I am so happy to say right now I am living and breathing it!

Today was so monumental and I will keep you posted on any news...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

From glitz to guts in less than a month!

A moment of reflection written on the poma at the top of the glacier in between runs this morning!

I have never before been exposed to such opposite realms of life in such a short period of time. It makes the Dancing On Ice experience seem magical. Just one month ago I was on tour skating in front of 10,000 people.

As the slushy spring snow and hail batter my face the only reminder of the last bizarre 17 months is the slight throbbing pain at the top of my ski boot where the metal work is getting used to this new, rather severe pressure.

Throughout it all I am smiling.

The feeling of being back where I belong shines through the dense fog. Being the only racer enthusiastic enough to venture up the mountain, the progression of my skiing is easy to monitor by the tracks on the piste.

Every time I ski over a softly arched but perfectly carved turn I think back to how I got to feeling so very proud of the simplest thing. Something that 2 years ago would have seemed the very norm!

I reminisce, in a not exactly fond way, about those first few horrendous months where if it weren't for my amazing family and boyfriend, the proactive BFG Cliff Eaton and all those at Third Space who gave me distractions and ways to train and believe in myself again, I would have been lost. Claire, Cherie and Gareth I can't express how much I owe to you!

I think back to the first time I stood and walked on my right leg. That truly was a golden day!

I dwell upon the chance that Torvill and Deane took with me by giving me a place on this year's Dancing on Ice and at their genius idea to partner me with the fabulous Sean Rice - another angel sent to me from some higher source to get me back to where I am today.

At the back of my mind I think of all those who have written me off, from the press (which was almost to be expected since the GB tabloids love drama) to my very own ski federation who have chosen to not help with my comeback in any way.

I am still ranked 8th in the world. I have shown I have the drive and determination which would have beaten many others and yet they still remain unsupportive. What hurts that instead of helping me they are helping athletes ranked 500 places worse than me! But I will fight with them no longer for I am not doing this for them.

I am doing this for me.

And for those who have remained supportive, for the friends and sponsors who have stuck with me throughout this whole crazy journey.

I am so thankful to the Canadian Ski Team who have again invited me back to their fantastic, professional and successful set up.

This year, if I don't secure a head sponsor, it is going to cost me personally around 75k to ski. Now show me another athlete willing to sacrifice that and I will applaud them.

I don't know what lies ahead but I know how great a joy I am getting from realising that me and skiing.... We are far from done!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Dancing back to health

I anticipated writing this blog mid-January. My thinking was that Dancing On Ice starts beginning of January, I really wanted to make it through the first week, then I knew it was going to be tough so if I had had to wait until mid-January to write this blog then I would have been content.

It is now the beginning of April and this rollercoaster ride is coming to its final thrill seeking vertical drop!

I can’t believe how far I came. To come 5th in a sports competition which veers over into a popularity contest makes me really proud. And massively thankful.... if you are reading this blog the likelihood is you may have supported me on this journey. If so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I thank you for helping me get my leg strong again. I thank you for helping me raise my profile and that of the sport I love. I thank you for helping me get on the Dancing on Ice tour (am writing this on the bus travelling to our first venue) which will help me fund my summer skiing. But most of all I thank you for helping me to inspire anyone who has ever had an injury and needed motivation to get back.

I met some fabulous, generous and caring people. The other ‘celebrities’ whom at first I felt distanced from since I am not from their world, encompassed me so warmly that they are all now close friends. The production team, the hair and makeup, the costume, the runners - all of whom without the show would most certainly fail. Chris and Jayne who took a huge chance with me - maybe because they felt empathy at me being a fellow winter athlete, maybe because they wanted to show people who I am behind the skiing mask, maybe just simply they wanted to see if I could skate and entertain. And most of all the fabulous Sean Rice. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner, mentor or friend. We both know this is the beginning of our friendship and any future successes I have in skiing are owed in part to this wonderful big friendly giant!!

The highs of the show were undoubtedly facing my demons, challenging myself and Sean and I being stubborn enough to get that dam Platter lift up! And then of course my Magic show. It was probably the week of my life I giggled the most. To go out when you have put your heart and soul into something, and enjoy it so greatly was no bad thing. I did my best, it’s just the judges thought Chico did better - and he went on in the competition to do so well that I was proud to have been knocked out by such a wonderful man and hugely charismatic skater.

The low was the realization that like skiing, this is a tough, cut throat sport where anything can happen to anyone. When my good friend Sebastian lost his way in the Ultimate Skills Skate Off I found it horrendous. Watching from the stage shouting and willing him on through my tears, my heart ached for him. He was a wonderful skater who left the competition too early. But that also was a wakeup call for all of us - no one was safe!

But I feel I proved my point. I showed any skeptics that I was doing this not to enter the world of celebrity-dom, nor to cash in on my crash but to test myself. To see if, in this controlled environment doing sport specific challenging edge controlled moves if my right leg could handle it. And it did. So now I am strong again - skiing Chemmy is once again pounding her way in my heart ready to put my all on the edge again and continue my journey to compete in Sochi Olympics 2014.

The tour is going to be fun but tough. Tough in the way I have to go out every day and perform - my weaker side but one which I have gradually accepted and secretly grown to love. Also tough because alongside all the travelling and skating, I will be physical training to be a ski racer again and planning my comeback. I know it will be a challenge - I reached 8th in the world with a good leg and funding - now I have a slightly numb leg and no government financial backing (which makes me even more grateful to my fabulous sponsors) but I believe more than ever that the skills I have learnt, the mental strength I have gained, the passion in my heart and my will to try again will prevail and in the words of the great Arnie, I WILL BE BACK!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


I am really excited to be on the cover of Munich's latest release, Just Like You and wanted to share a little sneak peak.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


From Twitter...

I understand some people may be confused at my participation on DOI 2012. I am a rehabbing athlete who has NOT quit her first love skiing. After my horrendous crash last year ice skating is enabling me to find the link between my head and metal right leg. It is helping not hindering my rehab. I was never going to be able to compete in ski racing this year so DOI has given me numerous opportunities including teaching me how to feel my feet, strengthening sport specific muscles and raising the profile of me and the sport I love. Don't forget it costs me and our fed at least £90,000 per year for me to ski. I have to find money personally to cover this. The worst would be for me to fight back from injury only to find I don't have enough money to fund a world class programme. So sceptics be silenced I am doing this so that I can return to being Britain’s best World Cup skier. My aims and goals haven't changed. In fact they are stronger than ever!

Team Chemmy x

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


So it is now official, Chemmy will be appearing on Dancing On Ice 2012! The show starts on 8th January and keep checking back here and on twitter/facebook to follow Chemmy's progress.

Please show your support by voting and GO TEAM CHEMMY!